Brendan Marsden's Modesto Tapas focuses on Spanish cuisine. His old restaurant, Mirasol, wasn't far off, but it highlighted New World flavors. Marsden opened the Loop restaurant in 2004 with his brother; the space has been a Pi Pizzeria since 2008. Modesto opened in 2001 and has outlasted its sibling. Marsden thought it was time for a revival.
"I still get a lot of people asking me if were ever going resurrect Mirasol. It's highly unlikely, but I thought this would be an interesting thing for my staff," Marsden says. "A lot of them are Latin American. This will draw in people that were Mirasol fans and highlight dishes from that time but create some new Nuevo Latino or Pan-Latin dishes."
The "Mirasol Mondays" menu will run every week, indefinitely, though the focus will change each month. The current menu is Cuban food -- camarones con arroz y elote (shrimp with rice, roasted corn and mango salsa), Empanadas de Ropa Vieja (beef empanadas with potato, green olives, red peppers and green peppers), ensalada de mango (fresh mango salad with cilantro, avocado, black beans, apple cider and vinaigrette), pollo con abichuelas (grilled chicken skewers with black bean salsa) and flan de coco (coconut flan with caramel sauce).
Each month the menu will focus on a different Latin country -- Marsden teases Peruvian and Ecuadorian menus. Modesto has also been doing $5 mojitos on Monday nights, which obviously lends itself well to Nuevo Latino food. Marsden says the cocktails could change as the menu does, but for now it will just be mojitos to complement the Mirasol throwback.
"This food is really fresh and focuses on lots of fruits and things like that," Marsden says. "It's a really fun time to start playing around with that kind of stuff."